For immediate release Aug. 10, 2015
Former DM Police Lt. Gonzalez oversees Latino festival, new events for 2015
DES MOINES, IA – Former Des Moines Police Lt. Joe Gonzalez, a familiar face to the metro area, has taken over the reins of the 2015 Iowa’s Latino Heritage Festival, which will include a new social media campaign and events.
“I’m proud to continue this great celebration that showcases the culture of our Latino community and shares the contributions we have made to Iowa,” said Gonzalez, who now serves as executive director of Latino Resources, the nonprofit umbrella group that oversees the festival. “We have a lot of new and exciting things to offer at this year’s festival.”
This year’s Latino Heritage Festival is Sept. 26 and 27 on the Walnut and Locust streets bridges in downtown Des Moines. It has grown to become one of the most widely attended cultural events in Iowa, with between 10,000 and 20,000 people attending the two-day festival. Organizers hope new activities will draw even more attendees.
The festival includes various musical entertainment, dancers, martial arts performers, a children’s area, Latin American foods, booths about the countries represented at the festival and more.
Gonzalez and the members of the festival board are working to increase social media presence for the event. Also new this year is a health village; an expanded artwork display that will continue to showcase the work of veterans but also young Latinos and Latinas’ art, as well as live art; a civic engagement booth; and a hospitality tent for dignitaries and elected officials.
Academic scholarships also will be presented at this year’s event.
Gonzalez, who retired from the police department last year, had previously served on the festival’s board of directors. He worked last year with JoAnn Mackey, who started the statewide event 15 years ago as a way to celebrate the contributions from the more than 22 Latino countries